It's 8:00 pm on a Wednesday night and I'm already in bed, too bone-tired to attempt to continue with an semblance of productivity. My head is pounding and my mind struggling to form coherent thoughts through the fogginess, the direct result of my recent lack of self care. When I began to feel my anxiety rising and my fear about the future coming on like a flood, my first instinct was to set myself on fire / self destruct rather than feel / burn my body to the ground rather than move towards the unknown.
"It just doesn't fit anymore, Lindsay," she says. "You're trying to fit a square peg into a round whole. It's why you're feeling so much dissonance: it doesn't fit."
We're sitting in her dimly lit office and I am anxiously tapping my foot and staring at the floor and wiping away the stray tears that escape my eyes.
I desperately want her to be wrong, want to know that using the eating disorder will function as it always has and that I can starve myself without any amount of conscience setting in. That I can use my tried and true destructive coping skills without falling into chaos and despair. But I know better: I know that I have too much awareness of what I believe and who I am to not feel utterly hopeless when I go against my values and beliefs, when I cut myself off from the things that I am passionate about, that which is life-giving and life-affirming. When it's 2 a.m. and I am lying on the floor of my apartment in the darkness wishing nothing more than to not exist, it's not because I truly want to die. It's because I am betraying every part of my heart, every last part of it, by giving in to the disorder. It's because I am disobeying my own beliefs about how human beings deserve to be treated; it's because the Monster shuts off / stops up every creative valve, everything that brings me LIFE.
"But I don't want to eat. I want to lie down and give up." I tell her, choking down a sob and reaching for another tissue.
"I don't believe you," she says. "I believe that your eating disorder wants that. But you? You want to live."
I think, despite the abusive voice in my head telling me otherwise, that she is probably right. That I do want a life beyond this: a life of music and writing and art, a life of friends and loving community and relationship.
But my mind is not suddenly free, no longer a battleground, no longer in tension. I am still in a constant tug-of-war between me with a Capital M, and the abusive Monster in my head.
So here I am, trying to find some catalyst to move me to action, catapult me into recovery, rather than passively allowing myself to drown again and again. But I know it's never worked that way, not once. Motivation, for me, has never fallen out of the sky - I have always, for a time, had to act against my own mind, choosing movement before the internal fight and fire were present. "Opposite action," she says, when I tell her I want to feel it before I do it. "You just do it, Lindsay."
It's too hard to think clearly right now, my mind hazy from starvation and medication withdrawal, but I trust her, and that is something. It is something to know that if I continue to go down the path of self-destruction and sickness, it is a deep betrayal of who I am and everything I hold dear. It is something to know that the eating disorder cuts me off from art and writing and singing, causing me an internal death. It is something to know all of this and then be able to choose: sickness or life, food or starvation, hope or despair.